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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:00 January 08, 2021

The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Friday.

(News Focus) Seoul-Tokyo ties headed for new low after sex slavery ruling

SEOUL -- Relations between South Korea and Japan appeared headed for a new low Friday, as a Seoul court delivered a landmark ruling ordering Tokyo to compensate its wartime sexual slavery victims amid a protracted row over its colonial-era forced labor.

The ruling injected fresh complexities into Seoul's budding efforts to mend ties with Tokyo ahead of the Jan. 20 launch of the U.S. administration of Joe Biden, who has vowed to knit back America's democratic alliances to shore up its global leadership.

(2nd LD) 'Comfort women' win first legal victory against Tokyo in wartime sex slavery case

SEOUL -- South Korean victims of wartime sexual enslavement won their first legal victory Friday against the Japanese government in a landmark ruling.

The Seoul Central District Court ordered Tokyo to make financial reparations of 100 million won (US$91,300) each to 12 "comfort women" who were dragged away from their homes and forced to work in front-line military brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II.

(2nd LD) LG Electronics sees record Q4 earnings on solid home appliance sales

SEOUL -- LG Electronics Inc. on Friday forecast robust fourth-quarter earnings as sales from its mainstay home appliances apparently remained solid despite the weakness of the U.S. dollar.

In its earnings guidance, the South Korean tech giant estimated its operating profit at 647 billion won (US$592 million) for the October-December period in 2020, a sixfold increase from a year ago.

WHO chief seeks S. Korea's continued cooperation against coronavirus: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has sent a letter to President Moon Jae-in and requested South Korea's continued support for the global fight against COVID-19, Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.

In the letter, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the rollout of new vaccines has given hope for the termination of the pandemic, according to Moon's spokesman Kang Min-seok.

Moon to deliver New Year's address next Monday

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in will issue his formal New Year's message next week, Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.

During the address slated for Monday, he is expected to unveil policy priorities in the fifth year of his presidency, with South Korea locked in a prolonged fight against COVID-19.

(LEAD) KOSPI soars past 3,100 on Samsung, Hyundai Motor

SEOUL -- South Korea's key stock index logged the largest daily gain in nearly seven months Friday, breaching the 3,100-point mark on stellar advances in market heavyweights such as Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 120.5 points, or 3.97 percent, to close at 3,152.18 points, registering the largest daily jump since June 16, 2020.

(LEAD) Seoul logs lowest temperature in 35 yrs as cold spell grips nation

SEOUL -- South Korea posted the lowest temperatures of the season Friday, with many regions seeing record lows close to minus 20 C and continuing to receive heavy loads of snow.

In Seoul, the cold snap that began earlier this week pushed the temperature down to minus 18.6 C, the second-lowest since records began in 1980, after minus 19.2 C on Jan. 5, 1986, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

(3rd LD) S. Korea past 3rd peak of pandemic, tougher curbs in place against foreign arrivals

SEOUL -- The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be slowly declining after a peak amid tough social distancing guidelines, but health authorities remain guarded against a more transmissible virus variant, officials said Friday.

The country added 674 more COVID-19 cases, including 633 local infections, raising the total caseload to 67,360, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

TREASURE, (G)I-DLE, ITZY among K-pop acts set to brighten up Jan.

SEOUL -- January is usually a bleak month after year-end festivities and the hype for ambitious New Year's resolutions have faded. But in the K-pop industry, January is set to be packed with debuts and comebacks by both rookies and veteran acts this year.

On Monday, 12-piece group TREASURE is set to drop its first full album just five months after its debut. The boy band took the industry by storm last year, churning out three singles in just 100 days and selling more than 700,000 albums.

(LEAD) S. Korea confirms 48th case of highly pathogenic bird flu

SEOUL -- South Korea's agricultural ministry said Friday it has confirmed the country's 48th case of highly pathogenic bird flu from a poultry farm, with the spread of the disease among wild birds further straining the country's antivirus fight.

The latest case of the malign HN58 strain of bird flu came from a duck farm in Yeongam, 384 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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